The lingering bad taste of judgment

September 5, 2014

I ran into someone I know the other day and we strolled together for a while. As we walked, she mentioned someone we knew and began to criticize her for an irresponsible action.  Not a super serious infraction and not even a personal one, but something that could very well have been simply thoughtless.  Perhaps that person didn’t understand the implications of her actions.  So I suggested that.

“How could she not get it,” my friend said, coldly.  I brought up several possible reasons. My friend rejected them all and continue to bash the other person.

I came away from the conversation feeling..soiled. The judgments I heard were so distasteful and so void of any flexibility or willingness to give the benefit of the doubt that it left a bad taste in my mouth: the lingering bad taste of judgment.

judgmentOur culture is rife with judgment. We evaluate easily, sometimes make snap judgments and often fail to consider more innocuous, alternative reasons for something.

A few weeks before that I ran into someone else I’ve known pretty well but don’t see much of any more.  I had been out walking the dog and had only rushed to the store to pick up an item I’d forgotten. I didn’t change out of my ratty long-sleeved t-shirt that had a stain on it. I saw my former friend give me the once over, paste a phoney smile on her face and then say, “you look great!”

Fact was I didn’t look great. Fact is her comment was gratuitous and fake.

Fact is we really didn’t have much to say to one another after that.

I don’t have much to say to the first person, either.

I mean, why would I?

So here’s what I’m asking this morning: Do you lift others up? Or –even unthinkingly–drag them down?

Every day we have an opportunity to build up the people around us, if we choose to.  And that’s the key thing, I believe: choice.

Choice to make the world around us a little brighter and more positive. To be more compassionate.

As I age, bringing a little light and laughter to the world around me and making people around me feel good –seeding the environment around me, you might call it–have become far more important. Because now I can see that we do create our world.


9 comments on “The lingering bad taste of judgment
  1. nisha sanjeev says:

    Thanks Carol…now I wait for your daily dose.

  2. joan says:

    hmmmmm I understand not liking listening to the people who judge so harshly…. But remember… make sure you also do not judge them either…. Who knows what had been going on before talking with you…. Accept them as they are and for that moment only…and “build them up” when you can…
    smiling all the way…

  3. Janie Emaus says:

    I’m hoping I bring people up!

  4. Lana says:

    I do my very best not to judge anyone – although I fail sometimes! it seems to me that we never know exactly what the other person is going through at that moment, so our judgement will be incorrect. I try to be positive and lift people up – I think I succeed most days.

  5. Very well said, Carol. I’ve been called ‘naive’ for having the tendency to give people the benefit of the doubt. But I’d rather be called ‘naive’ or whatever, than be called judgmental or negative, angry or spiteful. It’s just not nice to be around toxic people. Period. Thanks for the insights!

  6. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    You are so right about our society being judgmental. It really bothers me, but I know I can be that way, too.

  7. Great post Carol! I try to make a conscious effort to do this every day. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Either way it makes me feel better.

  8. DarleneMAM says:

    What a great post. I try to lift people up. But sometimes I fail. That said, I keep trying and mostly succeed.

  9. My mother always taught me that if I didn’t have anything nice to say, then I shouldn’t say anything at all. The world would be a far more gentle place if everyone followed this simple rule.

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